It was during his time running Exit Intelligence (or “Exit Intel” to its friends), a startup focused on email capture for ecommerce companies and conversion rate optimization, that Matt Cimino witnessed the need for and developed the idea for his new startup, Ellie.
The Raleigh-based startup provides businesses with automated chat on their websites to drive more leads, especially fitting the needs of a small business that does not have the resources to perform live chats.
“When we started, we weren’t exactly sure who the ideal customer was going to be,” Cimino said. “We really found this niche with the small businesses. We knew this technology was extremely valuable, but we didn’t realize how much the small business market was being neglected.”
Founded in late 2019, the Ellie name comes from the qualities associated with elephants, an animal that serves as the Ellie logo.
“They’re known for having a great memory, for being very intelligent,” Cimino said. “So in this sort of conversational space, we wanted to get very personable, very brandable, and so Ellie was born.”
Ellie’s automated chats are based primarily on the site visitor’s behavior, such as how long they have been on the site and what part of the site they are on. In this way, businesses do not have to wait for visitors to access the Contact Us page; they can get them exactly to what they want and the business owner can follow up with them as a lead, Cimino said.
“I think Ellie is going to allow small businesses to better connect with their website visitors that they worked hard to get to their site by making that stronger connection, removing the friction, ultimately being able to help these small businesses grow because they live and die by how many leads they’re getting,” Cimino said. “So I think we’ll significantly be able to help these small businesses grow.”
As a SaaS product, Ellie offers its automated chat services for around $150 per month. Currently serving 20 pilot companies and five paid users—check out CED’s site for an example—Ellie has enabled increased success for many of their clients. For instance, Cimino said an accountant gained 20 extra meetings a month and a custom truck accessory company increased by one or two quality leads a day after using Ellie.
“Where we’re at now is we’ve got a great product,” Cimino said. “It’s working really well for the businesses that we have using it. We’ve got a lot of people that are wanting to start up new trials of it or new pilots. And so the next step for us is just refining the onboarding, making it really simple to get started and then just helping as many of these small businesses as we can.”